Let’s be blunt, I am not liking how the Maroons are acting this evening. Cloudy water (from Formalin treatment in the tank) and both fish are kinda sulky. The female more than the Lightning Maroon.
I went downstairs, turned on the lights and offered food. A mixture of multiple types of mysis, brine shrimp, grated squid and freeze dried tubifex, all soaked with Super Selcon. The female as usual showed NO interest in food at all. The Lightning Maroon, I think he ate something but I can’t be certain…all he does now is hide behind the live rock. I’m thinking I may have to rearrange this tank for better observation. I truly cannot see what’s going on with these fish when they’re hiding like this. Pile on another impediment!
Earlier this evening, basically right after I set up their dip, I got some more clean water mixing and heating. After feeding this evening, I siphoned out whatever uneaten food I could get at, as well as giving the live rock a once over to suck out anything decaying. All told, another 5 gallon water came out. And in went fresh, clean saltwater with another 5 drops of Formalin.
Honestly, I feel like I’m getting all the deleterious effects of the Formalin without any of the benefits. Since I still do not know how much Formalin was removed by carbon, the safe way to bring up the levels is to continue on this route of water change and dose for the makeup water only. That conceivably should slowly get us up to that 1 drop per gallon concentration recommended by the manufacturer. However, I should also note that the manufacture suggests repeating this dosage every other day until control is achieved. I do not know if Formalin degrades in the tank or not, so I’m curious to think that I may not be dosing ENOUGH Formalin in the tank to be effective beyond killing off sensitive invertebrate life on the “live rock” biological filtration. I knew dosing Formalin in the tank was going to be a risk, but I thought the benefits would outweigh any risks. As of now, despite the die off, there are no measureable effects…all water parameters still testing out OK. So the stress exhibited by the Clownfish is not from elevated Ammonia or Nitrite, at least not that I can detect in my tests.
Admittedly, this is frustrating. I feel like if I’m not gaining ground I am losing it, even if we’re at a “stalemate” situation. The last time I was in a position like this was with my Onyx Percs, and I feel like I made much better headway, and a lot quicker. Then again, they had been in captivity for a few years, whereas this Maroon Pair is still fresh off the boat.
This quote from John Witt via email summed up the gravity and stress of this project better than I have thought of to date.  “I can’t imagine the stress you are under right now though.  With the orange spot filefish, no one expected a good outcome.  With Premnas you are expected to succeed, definitely more pressure.  Blogging about it doesn’t help much either.  Good luck…”
I knew what I was getting into when I accepted the fish, but honestly, I was more worried about trying to pair the fish, and whether the Lightning Maroon would get beat up or killed.  Dealing with disease, even on a fish handled as carefully as the Lightning Maroon, should simply reiterate for all readers just how difficult wild-caught Clownfish can be when compared to their captive-bred counterparts.   Something to keep in mind when you’re looking for your next clownfish.